Tuesday 29 September 2009

A breath of hot air...

I picked up a copy of Vernon Coleman's 'England our England - a Nation in jeopardy' the other day.

It's not much more than a powerful set of blog posts, often turning into a prolonged rant as well, but it lifts several lids on the EU disaster waiting to happen. Naturally, our spineless administrations - and those as far back as Heath's as well, get a lambasting on every page. I just can't help thinking how much taxpayer's hard earned dosh is wasted by such enormous 'public' organisations, staffed by such incompetent but power-hungry people.

Which is what my point is all about.

As some old friends here might have established some time ago, my business is developing property - mainly hotels. ('Nasty, greedy old Git in a sheepskin coat' come some comments from those who think I drive a Hummer, and live behind electric gates...)! Wrong I can assure you, the 'Scrobmobile' is well qualified for scrappage - by three years - I just love driving it; and the gates have been non-existent for twenty years as I keep hitting them when I get home...

So my company takes enormous risks to get something built. There are no contentious issues with hotels, mainly because they have to be on big roads to be seen, or town centres, to attract business and tourism, and hardly anyone wants to live near those sorts of place anyway.

We search everywhere to find sites, and meeting as many people as possible to achieve our goal is the norm, which is why I usually go to big events like 'The Thames Gateway' exhibition. (see November posts passim, especially recalling the lovely lady, who still keeps in touch...). We definitely cannot afford to go to MIPIM, (big property bash in Cannes), which is good if you have several thousand quid to spread around, and end up so alcoholically re-adjusted, that you've forgotten who you met..), so I make sure I get around here in London mainly, but on a strict budget. (The bus pass even works for me too)!

I've just been informed by email that I 'should' consider going to yet another 'Local Authority talking shop'. Most of the delegates are from local councils and boroughs, but also hundreds of quangoes like SEEDA, BURA, and the like which control/degrade/interfere with every aspect of trying to get a simple building built for business. You'll count the commercial ability points on one hand...

This year, the Thames Gateway organisers are charging four times as much (£400) for private individuals (i.e. the tax paying companies which provide the wealth they fritter away), and even giving discounts to public services staff who don't create anything, except prolonged chaos in this weak, drowning government's task of ruining UK inc.

The latest one wants me to pay something similar, but for what?


...A chance to hear the views and learned discussion of various councils, unelected spenders of the public purse, dead-handed planners in sink boroughs, lessons from bankers (for Chrissakes), wise words from 'Learning and Skills Councils', regeneration experts - perhaps the sort of person which prepares the budget for the Olympics..., a smattering of MPs on expenses of course, loads more 'government' employees of a day out, someone in a pullover from the LDA, and a handful of bemused students who like to collect all the biros, sweeties and scratch pads from every stand!

These exhibitions are usually sponsored by private concerns, and they put up much of the money. The big names are there, but they can afford to, because they've got an ongoing project worth zillions lurking in the planning system, and anyway, I hardly ever come across them in our business, they're far too big. There are also a few housebuilders, who are hanging in too. Don't knock them, many of the good guys have gone now, and love 'em or hate 'em, they at least take huge risks, and bring something to the prosperity of a crap area, while councils wouldn't have a clue how to do it themselves.

So your correspondent will not be gracing any of these big events to meet nobodies, instead, he'll be doing what he normally does; wake up early, start thinking what to do next to earn a crust, get going on the phone early, email like crazy, get up to town the cheapest way possible, take a few Ryvita and a bottle of tap water for lunch on a bus between meetings, get excited rarely - but, when something goes well, you know it's despite government spouting rubbish, not because of it.

Oh yes; for one day, I will be at my monthly business meeting bash; (no public faces there, we don't want them), this Thursday, and I should know it works, because I started it over ten years ago!

And it costs nothing to arrange, you buy your own drinks, and it's free!

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Left on a jet plane...


Farewell Lovely Lady.

May The Early Morning Rain fall gently and always revive the flowers you sang so beautifully...

Sleep well.


Saturday 19 September 2009

Student loans fiasco...


Today is the 'Turrets Annual Hedge-cutting Day'. They always get done this weekend, because it is a ritual which started seventeen years ago.

You see, this is the time when Elder Daught left home for the first time to go away to College. Two years later, Younger Daught left for Uni too, and it was painful on both days. Mrs S and I kept wandering around the house, trying not to think of her going, and eventually I said 'sod it' and went out to start clipping the church side holly hedge, (now thankfully gone). It seems like yesterday and I can remember feeling utterly miserable all the time.

The BBC news this week had a story about the utter failure of the Student Loans company to get their act together, and organise the new intake's loans in time. What a bunch of losers, they are; originally cobbled together in a vain attempt by both governments to squirm through the fact that they were making students pay through the nose for tertiary education. In fact the brighter/better off parents just got the loans out at the ridiculously low interest rate, invested the dosh in a better deal, and then pocketed the interest.

So Nulabyrinthe's policy of chucking every student into a 'University' to study just about anything, and thus keep them off the unemployment lists for three years, has now culminated in thousands of disillusioned kids having to cope with having no money for the first few important weeks, as well as the fear of leaving home for the first time, and facing their own crisis in another world. They've been let down - yet again - by a weak and ineffective administration.

To think that their future is overseen by a 'government' staffed by such pathetic figures as Ed Balls, and his ugly wife, Yvette 'Turtle in the headlights' Balls-Cooper (did you see her on TV this week; absolutely petrified and gulping for air), I fully expect them to be let down several more times before they get their degrees. Ministers knew months ago that there would be a problem, but as usual, they put their personal situations first, blurted anything they were told to by their whip-meisters and did nothing.

This is a cock-up of devastating proportions, and my heart goes out to the families who are trying to come to terms with one of the most upsetting times of anyone's life.

Those hedges will just fly today...

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Reever's survey yarn...

'Reevers', who is a loyal poster here, and always finds time to place a comment even when the desperation posts (i.e. - can't get organised/excercised) take up space, has sent this marvellous note, which must be seen!


Last month a world-wide telephone survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was:-

"Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a huge failure because of the following:

In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.

In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.

In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.

In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

In the US they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.

And finally............ In Australia they hung up because they couldn't understand the Indian accent of the researcher.

Reevers also signed off with this, which produced a rather interesting Rioja based splatter effect all over the electronics...

'I shall now hastily exit left with with gaberdine and wellies (which if you spell check in Word asks whether you meant "willies").'

No need Reevers (RVI), great post - thanks!

Thursday 10 September 2009

Thoughtful - I really did think again...

Subject: WHY I (sometimes) FORWARD JOKES

This explains why I forward jokes.

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years, and he wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered. 'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveller asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveller gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump.'

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself,
then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who
was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveller asked.

'This is Heaven,' the man answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveller said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope; that's Hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'


Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word and maybe this will explain.

When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do? You forward jokes.

When you have nothing to say, but just want to keep in contact, you forward jokes.

When you have something to say, but don't know what, and don't know how, you forward jokes.

Also to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get?

A forwarded joke.

So, next time if you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile.

I was going to bin this, but felt it was worth an airing...

Friday 4 September 2009


Mrs S. has become very adept at growing chilli peppers this year...

Over the last few years, she's experimented with growing our own, saving seed from various types and planting them with interesting results. This year, she went the whole hog and bought some serious 'heat' to see what happened...


That's what's happened; they are fantastic, and becoming very addictive! I didn't know until I read Annie Hawes' fabulous book, 'Extra Virgin', and the sequel, that peppers become a necessity in much of the Italian (and presumably the rest of the Mediterranean) diet! They can then become addictive, they're pretty good for the system and, presumably, the 'Ring of Fire' is a by-product...

I spent a whole day in a darkened room recovering from peeling one of these, and accidentally touched a spare eyelid. Absolute agony, and it even hurt the next day, although it was well worth the pain.

Mrs S. instructs me, (from behind an Atomic Bomb shelter with eight inch glass) to decant the ordinary olive oil into a special bottle with pourer (thanks to the King of Oil, 'Tuscs', it is a great pourer still...), and then the heat builds up!

And up...

And up...!

They apparently become a serious habit, because the desire to try something hotter/stronger takes over, and eventually, you get to a point where only the most volcanic will do, and even then, that's not enough!

You'd think I'd just stick to red wine wouldn't you, but there again, on the downside, we've had a problem with the poor old tomatoes.

Late blight (here, this is what you look like you bastards...") has struck with a vengeance. We've lost about 25 plants, and only saved a few pounds of toms from them! It is the same strain which brought Ireland to it's knees, helped of course by the government and the landowners...

Nonetheless, we'd planted loads more, spread all over the Turrets Estate, and they'll keep us in the buggers for a few weeks yet...

Next year...plans already afoot...